Hello from Johannesburg, South Africa!

I’m currently participating in a week-long exploratory mission trip with Brannon Hulsey (our current Long Range Planning Chairperson and Church Council Chairperson) and 9 other leaders from 5 CBF-related churches. Our group traveled together on Friday from Atlanta and will return this Saturday.

By the time you are reading this, our group will have worshipped with a local church (The Good Shepherd Healing Ministries), visited with three potential local mission partners, and enjoyed several meals to build relationships among our various churches. We have four more meetings to learn about some possible ministry collaboration avenues, plus some teaching time at a conference for pastors. The goal of this trip is to gather information and discern what God is leading us to possibly do, then return to discuss opportunities with our Missions Council and Church Council.

Please pray for our group to be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and for safe travels.

What it means to be a global Christian

I believe that every believer is called to have not only a local way of serving Christ, but also to have an awareness and engagement with the global Body of Christ.

There’s a richness in developing relationships with people who are different from us, yet share a common bond of following Jesus. I have found that when I meet other Christians in places like South Africa, Korea, Mexico, and France, there is a quick recognition that we’re on the same team and worship the same God.

As it says in Ephesians 4:5 (NLT), “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.”

I also love the way that the gospel crosses cultures to create a new family in Jesus’ name. Jesus commanded his disciples to go to “all the world” and proclaim the gospel (see Matthew 28). When the Spirit fell on the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2), the new church was multi-cultural and multi-lingual. It was filled with power to complete the mission of making disciples. The world had never seen such a dynamic, diverse, and dedicated group!

You don’t have to go around the around the world, however, to experience what it means to be a global Christian. You can pray for people who are different from you. You can intentionally build relationships across racial and ethnic lines.

But you can also practice being a global Christian from your home. You can pray for believers around the world, especially for those who suffer and those who are helping the gospel to spread. You can give to global missions and build diverse relationships with people in your workplace and neighborhood.

Big Opportunities Ahead

Our church is currently exploring two international partnerships in South Africa and Croatia. While we don’t plan to send any teams to serve in South Africa until 2025, we do have an upcoming opportunity for those who are called to serve among Croatian Baptists this summer.
We plan to send a team of volunteers to serve in Croatia starting the week of July 8 for approximately 8 days. Our Croatian Baptist partners have let me know that they could use some help in three areas: 1) assistance with set-up, event staging, and clean up for a music festival, 2) light construction on their school (plaster and eaves repair, painting, other small projects), and 3) teaching seminars in the area of discipleship.

If you feel led to explore whether or not this short-term mission trip would be right for you, I urge you to attend a brief information meeting this Sunday, February 11th in the Blue Room immediately following 11am worship. We will discuss the itinerary, preliminary costs, and other details. If you can’t make this meeting but have an interest, please email me ([email protected]) to set up a time to talk.

We look to have ongoing mission opportunities in both South Africa and Croatia in the coming years, so if you can’t make the July 2024 timeframe, I hope you will be open to future mission trips.

Looking forward to being back with you soon!

Much love,
Pastor Brent McDougal